Author Kevin Weeks was top lieutenant to J. James "Whitey" Bulger, the notorious alleged Boston mob boss who stayed at the top of the FBI's "Most Wanted" list for more than 16 years before his arrest at his Santa Monica, Calif., home June 22.
In his new book, "Where's Whitey," Weeks, and coauthor Phyllis Karas, offer a fictional account of Bulger's life on the run. "Where's Whitey" follows Bulger, his longtime companion Catherine Greig, and "Joey," a fictional character based on Weeks, as they crisscross the globe to evade the FBI agent assigned to find the mob boss.
While the story is fiction, its insider knowledge gives readers an intriguing glance inside the mind of Bulger and his time on the run, with hints toward the actual whereabouts of the man who was second only to Osama bin Laden on the "Most Wanted" list and had a $2 million bounty on his head. The book was released the same week the FBI announced stepped-up efforts to find Bulger, and opens with a scene in California, the same state where the mobster was, in real life, finally brought down.
Weeks' previous book, "Brutal: The Untold Story of My Life Inside Whitey Bulger's Irish Mob," was a true-life account of his 25 years with Bulger, including his role in removing the remains of those killed by Bulger for disloyalty and his participation in shakedowns of Boston-area drug dealers. Weeks was arrested in 1999 but had his sentence reduced to six years after he cooperated with the Justice Department.
Read an excerpt from "Where's Whitey?" below, then visit ABCNews.com to read the latest headlines on the FBI investigation of "Whitey" Bulger that brought a 16-year manhunt to an end.
Chapter 2 Whitey, New York, 1999
I'm working out in our New York hotel room when Cathy comes in with the news. It's just a few minutes after six and I'm about through with lifting weights.
'I saw it on the television,' she tells me, her voice slightly breathless.
She's wearing a fluffy yellow terrycloth bathrobe, her short blonde hair wrapped in a towel. Her skin is pink from the bath she took and as always, she looks fabulous.
'You've been named on the FBI's Most Wanted List, Jimmy: "James Whitey Bulger wanted for nineteen murders". My name's there, too.'
She stops for a moment and studies my face. I shrug and she goes on, her voice a little softer now: 'They also say you were an FBI informant, as well as the head of the South Boston mob.'
I'm not surprised: my contacts have been warning me for weeks that the FBI was going to list me. As for the informant shit, that's no big shock either – the surprise is that I hid it so well for thirty years. Now all that means is there's no one I can get in touch with – certainly not Joey – who I bet couldn't believe his ears. Too bad I never found the words to tell him myself – he deserved that.
I study her face. She's trying to play the game the way I like it, cool and collected. You have to give the woman credit – in so many ways, she's made for this life. I put down the weights and sit on the nearest chair.
'Yeah, no big surprise,' I casually mutter.
She folds down onto the floor beside my chair and leans her cheek against my leg. I'm sweating through my warm-up suit but that doesn't seem to bother her.
'How does this affect us?' she asks.
'Not much,' I answer. 'We've always been careful, there's nothing I'll do any different.'
She's quiet and I know what she's thinking. You don't spend almost every minute of the day and night with a woman for more than six years and not get to know exactly what's on her mind.
'Okay, things will be different,' I admit and she sighs softly. 'There's money out there.'
'A million dollars,' she says.
'Yeah,' I say. 'That'll count for something.'
'And your picture will be on that Most Wanted show all the time.'
'That, too.' I wish she'd let it go. Usually she knows when to back off, but this is different: it's her face out there on the bull's-eye, too. 'But I'm prepared for this – it's been six years since we took off. Hell, I hardly recognize you sometimes. We'll be okay, trust me. They're never going to find us.'
She positions herself closer and I feel her shoulders begin to relax against me.
'I know, Jimmy,' she tells me, 'but I get scared sometimes. I like our life the way it is, I don't want it to change and I couldn't bear to have anything happen to you.'
But I don't want to hear this. 'I've got to change and make a call,' I tell her, although with the FBI on the case, there's no one I can call right now.
Despite what I said, things are different: It's true none of this is a surprise, but it's still going to mean a major change for us. I stand up, maybe a bit too roughly, and she nearly falls over but I'm out of there and into the shower before she can say anything. When I get out, she's sitting on the bed reading some goofy paperback novel, the towel gone from her wet hair, her bathrobe tightly belted. The TV is on mute but I can see it's a news show.
'I'll be back in an hour,' I say.
She looks up and smiles.
'Sure,' she says and then glances back down at her book. She's smart, real smart – she probably knows there's no one I can call, that I've got to cut off all contact with anyone back home, but I need to get out of the room to think … by myself.
The hotel we've been staying at for the past two weeks is not too far from Times Square. It's the typical place I've always favoured: small, clean, no doorman but all the amenities we need and a clientèle that doesn't spend a lot of time checking out the latest headlines. Sure, I could afford to stay in the most luxurious hotel in the city but even before my face was plastered on FBI 'Most Wanted' posters, I was careful to avoid places with nosy doormen or guests who have the time and smarts to know what's going on in the world outside their door.
From now on I need to be extra-careful. Today's news might draw the attention of even the guests in this undistinguished hotel. For the next hour, I wander up and down the streets in and around Times Square, ignoring the crowds, the throng of traffic, the constant blasting of car horns and peddlers trying to unload carts filled with cheap knock-offs. Thinking, strategizing … Already I'd made a plan for this day, which I knew would arrive but I need to think it over one last time before I put it into effect.
We've got to get out of New York. Not a good idea to fly anywhere, though. Better drive to a small town, like Louisiana, down south where the living will be easy and we can find a small place to rent for a few months and hang low. She'll like it there: people will be friendly and we'll fit right in – we're good at that. We'll take off tonight. Soon. I'm paid up for the rest of the week, so the desk clerk won't be concerned to learn we're suddenly leaving. Besides, I heard him say he himself was leaving for a new job tomorrow so his replacement will never have seen me – a stroke of luck right when I can use it.
As I'm heading back to the hotel, I think about what Cathy said: nineteen murders. Oh yeah, so that's what they think, huh? No surprise that Stevie gave me up for some of them. Nineteen was just the beginning but that doesn't matter. Not one of them, not even the women, is worth spending a second over. A bunch of them deserved to die. Hell, a lot of them were trying to kill me. Nineteen, thirty, forty, whatever … they're all dead but I'm alive and walking round Manhattan, free as a bird.
As I approach the hotel, I have a fleeting thought: would I be better off without her? Maybe now. She's great company, she's smart and she takes good care of me, but things have changed and I need to consider every angle. When I get back to the room, her hair is perfect, she's dressed and packed … and looking more beautiful than ever before. She's staring hard at me as I walk in and I think how easy it would be to do what I probably should. 'Let's go, baby,' I say. Then I grab my leather bag and her Coach bag and head back out the door.